The drilling of a well in the northernmost oil and gas basin in Russian territory by oil company Rosneft is a sign of things to come, Russia's president said.
Rosneft started drilling its Tsentralno-Olginskaya-1 well on the far northern reaches of the Arctic shelf.
In a video link to operators there, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Rosneft's move north marked the preliminary steps toward unlocking the vast quantities of oil and gas.
The well was tapped in the Laptev Sea using an onshore facility drilling horizontally.
The Russian oil company estimates the total area holds as much as 69 billion barrels of oil equivalent.
Rosneft said drilling in this method is complex, but investments in the region are expected to grow through 2021 to facilitate further development.
Rosneft President Igor Sechin said more drilling is planned next year in the Arctic reaches of the Barents Sea and [we] will continue our work in the eastern Arctic.
Rosneft holds about 2 dozen license areas on the Arctic shelf.
The company points to industry experts who suggest the region could account for as much as 30 % of Russia's total oil production by 2050.
To read the news of the week in Russian.